Over the weekend I was in a Feltrinelli(a store in Italy that mainly sells books, but a lot of stores have music, games, movies, ect) and I came across the bargain bin.  As usual it was fill with tons of crap, but as experience has taught me, if you dig through enough crap, you’re sure to find a gem(don’t take that too literally ;)).  In my ventures I found a deeply discounted copy of Starcraft along with the expansion Brood War.  I also found a copy of Darksiders for the Xbox360, but that’s for another time.  Given the great price for the amount of content that was on the Starcraft disk, not having a computer powerful enough to run Starcraft II, and have played it many times in the past and lost my original disks, I bought it.  When I got home, installed it, and started playing I realized just how much I love playing that game and even though the visuals are a bit dated, it still holds up with many modern games, if not better, in the gameplay department.  So, I’ve decided to make a list of some of some games that really hold up today and have survived the test of time.  What classic games do you find yourself going back and playing, and what games do you think will still be a blast to play years in the future?

Starcraft

The original Starcraft came out in 1997 and 14 year later it’s still a blast to play.  If you not familiar with Starcraft, it’s RTS(Real Time Strategy) game where you choose between 1 of the 3 wonderfully balanced races and micromanage your way to annihilating your opponent.  This is seriously one of the most fast paced games I have ever played.  You have to keep an eye on collecting and managing resources, build an army, plan your upgrades, make a well situated base, fight off incoming enemy attacks, and ultimately find a way to expose a weak point in your opponent, exploit it, and destroy them.  While the game looks slow paced to an onlooker, to the person playing, their mind is going a million miles a second.  Besides the great free online multiplayer(which people are still playing :)), you get the skirmish mode to hone your skills and strategies(just try to Zerg rush me now, bwhahahaha), and a lengthy single player campaign.  If you’ve never played this give it a shot, it’s well worth your time to learn how to play.

Diablo II

The folks at Blizzard hit the nail on the head when they made Diablo, fun and simple to play, free online questing with your friends or random people, and randomly generated maps so you never have to play through the same dungeon twice.  Diablo II and its expansion Lords of Darkness expand on everything that made the first game great and provides countless hours of clicking your way through endless hordes of the undead on your way to the defeat of Diablo.  While the gameplay is simplistic, the things surrounding it are quite complex.  You need to know to kill the healing caster first(WOW players know the frustration of the idiot that doesn’t know this rule), be sure to use the proper spells to better wipe out hoards of enemies, equip the right gear, and how to position yourself in the proper places to get the max amount of kills with the minimum amount of damage.  But if you want to breeze through the game, choose a mage, level up you electricity spells till you get the one that shoots a ring of electricity around your character and max it out and abuse the usage of it, such an overpowered spell.

Warcraft III:Reign of Chaos

Yup, yet another Blizzard game.  I know it seems a bit extreme, but this company really knows how to make a game that lasts forever.  Look at World of Warcraft, a game that’s running on a graphics engine that’s nearly 7 years old but is one of the most played games around today(I’m taking a elongated sabbatical from it at the moment, but I will most likely be back).  Warcraft III:Reign of Chaos and its expansion The Frozen Throne took the basic Blizzard RTS formula present in games like the previous Warcraft games and Starcraft and polished it up to a gleaming shine.  They added in a few RPG elements, made some outstanding CGI sequences, and best of all, made it in 3-D.  One of the biggest changes to the series was the inclusion of “Hero” units.  These were special, highly powered units that had special abilities that could drastically turn the tides of a match if used at the right moment and could lead to defeat if you didn’t know how to counter attack those abilities.  Having these “hero” units and a relatively small size limit to your army cut down on the micromanaging and gave way for a more battle tactic approach to playing.  It’s a great game, and should be in a bargain bin near you soon.

Super Mario Bros. 2

I’m a huge fan of all the Super Mario Bros. games, but for some reason it’s the bastard child of the series that I have the most fun with(SMB3, taking a very close second).  Originally it wasn’t even a SMB game, but a Japanese Famicom game called Doki Doki Panic and was later turned into a SMB game when the developers thought that the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 was too difficult for American players(ya, I think they were right on that one).  You could choose your favorite plumber, along with Princess Peach(is this the only main SMB where she isn’t kidnapped?) and Toad.  Each had their own special ability, Peach could float for a short distance, Toad was fast, Mario was all-round, and my personal favorite Bro, Luigi could jump like nobodies business. I love the art style of the game, picking things up and smashing them into enemies is a blast, and as classic as the music is in all the other SMB games are, SMB2 has my favorite soundtrack.  Check out this video of jazz band Estradasphere jamming out to the SMB2 theme on a street corner.  And if you’ve never heard Estradasphere before, check them out, there great!!!

Super C (AKA: Probotector II: Return of the Evil Forces)

Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start.  If you don’t know this code like the back of your hand, you probably never played Contra game before.  At first this code is necessary if you wish to see the end of the game because it gives you 30 extra lives, and trust me, you need them.  Super C, the second entry in the Contra series is a hard game.  Of course, with enough practice, it’s possible to reach the end in under 30 minutes without losing a single life, but working your skill there will make you input that code countless amounts of times.  From time to time I find myself going back to this specific game and seeing if I still got what it takes to make it to the end without the code any more(in case you’re wondering, no, no I can’t).  This is my favorite entry in the Contra series mainly because it was the first super difficult game I made it to the end with without using any codes(and pulled it off a number of times on 2player with a friend of mine).  The other entries are tons of fun, but this one holds a special place in my heart.  And check out Contra 4 on the DS, damn is that game f’n hard, but fun, and no 30 life code.

Battletoads

Seriously, this game is impossible.  I can make it further than the average gamer, but I have never made it to the end(without the Game Genie).  What kind of masochists made this game and marketed it towards kids, it’s just unfair.  But the game has such a cool art style and you play as beefed up muscle toads that its charm just keeps bringing me back.  Someone has actually beaten this game you say, and on 2 player mode?  Well, then, it’s not impossible to beat, just insanely difficult.  Check out the video of a couple people actually beating the game, and check out the video of The Angry Video Game Nerd giving his hilarious review of it.

Tetris

Need I go into detail on this one.  Tetris is one of the most addicting games ever made.  Quick to learn, lifetime to master, or something like that.  I don’t think I’ve ever lived without of a copy of Tetris in some form somewhere in the house(usually on a Gameboy in the bathroom).  My record on the original Gameboy version is 436 lines, nailed that score once and haven’t gotten past 300 since.  How many times have you had to organize something and thought of Tetris or stared at a tile floor and saw Tetris blocks?  And the music, damn that’s a catchy tune.

Photo Credits-

http://www.inquisitr.com/80452/starcraft-the-story-dbp/
http://www.fragland.net/news/111-patch-for-Diablo-II-in-the-works/11358/
http://www.gamesradar.com/pc/warcraft-iii-reign-of-chaos/review/warcraft-iii-reign-of-chaos/a-2006041410292393032/g-2005120716475810885620
http://www.gamefaqs.com/nes/525244-super-mario-bros-2/images/screen-13
http://uk.wii.ign.com/dor/objects/950861/super-c/images/SuperC_20070827_8_1188234281.html
http://www.flickr.com/photos/videogamememories/319964063

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